Anaesthetics are used during tests and surgical operations to numb sensation in certain areas of the body or induce sleep. This prevents pain and discomfort, and enables a wide range of medical procedures to be carried out.
There are two commonly used types of anaesthetics:
- Local anaesthetic is where a small area of the body is numbed and you remain fully conscious – often used during minor procedures
- General anaesthetic is where you're totally unconscious and unaware of the procedure – often used for more serious operations
Anaesthetics can be given as an ointment or spray, as an injection, or as a gas that breathe in.
Find out more about the Anaesthetics on the NHS website.